Motion markets on the move

In this Product Roundup of motion control technologies, swelling energy costs and multiplying capabilities are sparking stronger growth in motors, motion and related industries.

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By Rick Pedraza, Digital Managing Editor, and Jim Montague, Executive Editor

TRADITIONAL economics pushing advances in motors and motion technologies are joining with several other forces to ignite new growth in these and associated markets. Greater efficiency and new capabilities are always in demand, but now they’re being turbocharged by accelerating fuel and power costs, enhanced intelligence and integrated designs, and a burgeoning need for motors and motion solutions in developing regions.

Researchers add that present and future growth in motors, motion control and related sectors also are being spurred by increasingly integrated, intelligent, network-enabled devices that combine self-diagnostics, control, maintenance, safety and/or sophisticated networking capabilities in one compact, unified form factor.

For example, the global, low-power AC drive market is projected to grow at an 8.6% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2009 after surpassing $5 billion in 2004, according to a recent study, “Low-Power AC Drive Worldwide Outlook," by ARC Advisory Group. "With oil prices escalating and drive prices falling, the payback period for investment in AC drives is becoming shorter, pushing their use on a broad basis," explains Himanshu Shah, ARC’s sensor analyst and the study’s primary author.

In an earlier study, ARC reported that users’ demand for energy savings, declining device prices, and expanding applications were similarly fueling growth in the high-power AC drive market. The research organization added that investment in the oil/gas and water/wastewater industries also were expanding use of high-power AC drives.

Another analyst firm, Frost & Sullivan, adds the global swell in raw material prices includes steel, copper and aluminum, which has forced DC integral horsepower (IHP) motor manufacturers to increase motor prices to offset high production costs.

The firm’s report, “North American DC Integral Horsepower Motors Markets,” says revenue in this sector totaled $127.8 million in 2004 and projects it will reach $139.3 million in 2011.

Despite price hikes, stiff competition, and lead-time reductions, Frost & Sullivan reports that most manufacturers are enjoying sales increases and a few are even seeing double-digit growth. “There is increased demand for OEM products due to the global economic recovery and improved financial situation,” says Kishan Bhat, Frost & Sullivan’s research analyst. “The favorable business climate is leading OEMs to invest in new systems and increase their orders for the DC motors.”

Though there is competition from AC motors, Frost & Sullivan added that DC motors have cornered niche markets because they provide greater control and efficiency in industrial (material handling, hydraulic pump drives) and traction (hydraulic lifts, battery operated vehicles) applications. Similarly, the brushless DC motor market also is expected to grow steadily thanks to the technology’s low maintenance levels, quiet and smoother operation, and overall cost effectiveness.


Product Roundup:
Motors and Motion Technology

Drive on One, Standard Platform
Sinamics modular and scalable industrial AC drive has an interchangeable architecture that allows operators to select, startup and configure the right drive for any application at any power range (120 W-1 mW), using the same software. The drive line is broad enough for any standalone or multiple-drive application in any industry and are CE and UL-certified (cUL for Canada). G110 operates variable-speed, three-phase motors on single-phase line power supplies. G130 is a modular, high-power drive ideal for OEMs that construct their own drive enclosures. Rated from 500 to 800 hp, it is comprised of a power chassis that operates on three-phase, 400-480 VAC power. A controller kit supports a variety of optional components. Siemens Energy & Automation; 800/964-4114;


Inverter, Drive in One Device
ACOPOS servo drive supports the operation of all conventional motor types: synchronous motors, asynchronous motors with or without a feedback system, linear motors, and direct drives. The adaptive, asymptotic control algorithm for the sensorless operation of asynchronous motors demonstrates high-torque characteristics throughout the entire speed range. The system has power ratings between 400 W and 64 kW and can be used in different applications, including the area of materials handling as well as for main motors in the textile and plastics industries. The entire system is integrated using Ethernet Powerlink. Operating servo drives and frequency inverters on the same network guarantees universal software interfaces and diagnostic options. B&R Industrial Automation; 770/772-0400;

Washdown the Drain
SSE motor has a hydrophobic aspiration system that removes condensation moisture in the motor, eliminating the need for drains as used in conventional washdown duty motors. The motor has a stainless-steel housing, a conduit box welded to the motor, conduit box cover, shaft, base, fan cover and slinger, making it impervious to rust and deterioration caused by frequent high-pressure caustic sanitizing in food processing and pharmaceutical plants. Baldor; 800/828-4920;

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